Mid 10-th Century Shiva Temple



Photograph of the Meruvardha­naswami temple at Pandrethan near Srinagar in Jammu and Kashmir, in Badami Bagh Cantonment.

Pandrethan, now mostly in ruins, is one of Kashmir's historic capitals, as recorded by Kalhana in his Rajatarang­ini, to have been founded by king Pravarsena in the 6th century CE. Its name is derived from Puranadish­thana or ‘old town’.

This small stone Shiva temple in the picture dates from the mid-10th century, was built by a minister named Meru. It was set in a spring-fed tank and its plinth is now submerged. Its interior has one of the finest surviving temple ceilings in Kashmir, consisting of three intersecti­ng squares formed by diagonally placed lintels, the soffit decorated with a lotus. The stone ceiling is elaboratel­y carved in basrelief figures, and it is one of the most perfect pieces of ancient carving that exists in Kashmir. The pyramidal roof as evident in the image is divided into two portions by an ornamental band.

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